Carry the Whole Team in These 10-Plus Passenger Vans
When you have to haul a crew of 10 or more, your vehicle choices are limited. You can only equip a Chevrolet Suburban or GMC Yukon to seat up to nine. Minivans, like the Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey, max out at eight passengers.
There are, however, some great solutions, including modern offerings from Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and Nissan, plus tried-and-true models from Chevrolet and GMC. While the vans are often used for commercial service, they can also be outfitted for family use, with comfortable interiors and advanced safety systems. Some are available in multiple lengths and heights, with seating capacity up to 15 passengers.
There are also opportunities to purchase custom-built 10-passenger vans. Aftermarket companies use platforms like the Ram ProMaster cargo van, and convert them to passenger haulers with interiors that range from utilitarian to luxurious.
Check out some of the best 10-plus passenger vehicle options of the following slides.
Ford Econoline vans once dominated the U.S. passenger van market, but the venerable E-Series has been replaced with the Transit line of vans that Ford sells throughout the rest of the world. The Transit is now the top-selling van in the U.S., outpacing even mainstream minivans.
If you’re looking for the passenger version, you’ll have lots of choices. Ford offers the Transit Passenger Wagon in three lengths, and with three roof heights. Three engines are offered, including a diesel and a powerful turbocharged V6. You can have a Transit equipped with a sliding door only on the passenger side, or on both sides. Depending on the length you choose, the interior can be outfitted with seating for eight, 10, 12, or 15.
The Transit uses a car-like unibody structure, so it’s lighter and more efficient than the Econolines it replaced. The EPA rates the Transit at 15 mpg in the city and 19 on the highway when equipped with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine.
Ford offers two trim levels on passenger versions of the Transit. The Passenger Wagon XL starts at $34,365 and the chrome-trimmed XLT starts at $35,660. There’s a long list of options available, including Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system, power-retracting running boards, and lane-keeping alert.
Given the van’s tall profile, Ford includes standard side wind stabilization technology to keep the Transit on its intended path.
The Ford Transit offers buyers something that they can’t find in minivans – the ability to walk upright inside the van, which is a great advantage for parents needing to buckle in multiple kids. Depending on the seating configuration, the Transit offers up to three seating positions with LATCH lower anchors and up to 12 with LATCH tether connections.
Chevrolet Express / GMC Savana
The full-size Chevrolet Express and it’s nearly identical twin the GMC Savana have been around since 2003 without a major upgrade. However, they have received several minor tweaks through the years to keep them somewhat competitive with new players in the full-size passenger van market.
The Express and Savana are the last American-designed full-size vans available in the U.S. All of the other available 10-plus passenger vans were designed overseas, though some are built in America.
Seating for 12 is standard for both the Express and Savanah, and you can hold 15 in extended wheelbase models. A 4.8-liter V8 is standard, while a 6.0-liter V8 is available. Chevy has announced that a 2.8-liter turbodiesel will be available on the 2017 Express. The EPA’s FuelEconomy.gov site only lists the estimated mileage figures for the 6.0-liter Express and Savana, and they’re thirsty, getting 11 mpg in the city and 16 on the highway.
Chevrolet Express / GMC Savana
The Express and Savana are available with either a swing-out pair of doors on the passenger side or a large sliding door. Two trim levels are available on each model, with the base models of each priced at $34,355. Upper trim models start at $36,160.
An infotainment system is available for both models, which includes a 6.5-inch touch-screen display, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and a USB port. Both vans can be equipped with a 4G LTE data connection, which provides a Wi-Fi hot spot that all passengers can access.
Unlike many of the new full-size vans available, the Express and Savana are slim enough to fit into standard parking spaces and have a low enough height that they can fit into some home garages and public parking structures.
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is available in two lengths and two roof heights, plus it has an optional configuration that no other full-size passenger van has – all-wheel drive. Sprinters can be fit from the factory with seating for up to 12 passengers.
There are two diesel engine options for the Sprinter, and both employ a seven-speed automatic transmission. Properly equipped, Sprinters can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Most of the Sprinter’s weight is carried low in the vehicle, so driving the Sprinter is easy. The short wheelbase version will fit into standard parking spaces, but all versions are too tall for most residential and public garages.
The Sprinter comes standard with Crosswind Assist. When a gust hits one side of the van, the system strategically brakes individual wheels to gently ensure that the vehicle stays on its intended course.
When it comes to safety equipment and technology, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter leads the pack. Not only does it have lane-keeping assist and blind spot warning like others in the class, but it also has Collision Prevention Assist to help prevent rear-end accidents by warning the driver of stopped traffic ahead.
The Sprinter’s interior is rather utilitarian compared to mainstream minivans and SUVs, but Bluetooth connectivity is standard, as is a 5.8-inch color display with optional navigation. Mercedes offers either cloth or leatherette seating surfaces.
Sprinter prices start at $40,745. If the Sprinter isn’t luxurious enough for your tastes from the factory, there are a number of aftermarket companies that can upgrade your van with simple upgrades such as leather seating to comprehensive interior makeovers that give your van an environment akin to an executive jet on wheels. Such conversions can easily eclipse $100,000.
Nissan’s entry into the full-size van market is the NV Passenger Van. It seats up to 12 passengers and is available with just one length and one roof height. Power comes either from a 281-horsepower V6 or a 375-horsepower V8. With the V8, the NV can tow nearly 9,000 pounds.
Nissan touts 324 different seating configurations for the interior of the NV. Unlike competitors, many of the NV’s seats are separate, and not benches, so individual seats can be moved around to make way for different mixes of cargo and passengers.
The NV comes with a five-year/100,000-mile bumper to bumper warranty and a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The Nissan NV carry’s eight airbags, including side curtain airbags that protect all four rows of seats. Its front bumper is placed low to match the height of passenger cars, protecting both the van’s passengers and the occupants of the other vehicle in case of an accident.
NV interiors are more car-like than most rivals, and storage areas are abundant. Roof- and floor-mounted vents ensure that all four rows are evenly heated and cooled by a powerful climate control system that includes both front and rear air conditioning systems.
Top of the line models feature leather seating surfaces, unlike rivals that only offer cloth and leatherette upholstery. Pricing for the Nissan NV starts at $33,800.
Ram doesn’t offer a passenger version of the ProMaster van directly from the factory, but they do offer a version with windows all around. It’s meant to be converted into a passenger van by third-party upfitting companies such as Midway Specialty Vehicles, El Kapitan, or FR Conversions.
Unlike other full-size vans, the ProMaster is front-wheel drive. Without the need to run a driveline to the rear axle, Ram was able to give the ProMaster a lower load floor than its rivals. That allows for a much easier entry and exit for passengers. It’s more nimble than rivals as well, with a 36-foot turning radius and the ability to fit in standard parking spaces.
The ProMaster comes with a choice of a 3.6-liter V6 or a four-cylinder diesel. Prices start at $34,150 for a ProMaster Window Van. Conversion to a passenger van is not included in that price.
More Buying Tools From U.S. News & World Report
Before you head to the dealer to buy a full-size van, you should brush up on the car-buying process and have a financing offer in hand. If you can’t decide whether to buy or lease, check out our handy guide to the pros and cons of each.